Why don't they simply start at the top or bottom of the hour; e.g. 7:00, 6:00, etc?


This is done to support telecasts by establishing a pre-game (which teams are playing, presenting any relevant storylines for the teams, etc) and providing opportunities for advertising (ie, commercials).

In media terms, it's a lead-in to the actual start of a game, rather than an abrupt introduction to the first pitch of the game.

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